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Scientists argue that costs related to Alzheimer can increase five times until 2050

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Posted November 25, 2014

It seems that the generation of Baby Boomers will cost a lot of money for American tax-payers in the near future. New study carried out by the researchers at the Southern California University predicts that expenses related to the Alzheimer disease will increase five times until 2050. Authors of the study think that their findings can be the beneficial for other scholars investigating whether investments into fight with dementia are large enough.

Picture: Twilight. Image credit: Carlos M. via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Picture: Twilight. Image credit: Carlos M. via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

U.S. population is aging rapidly. “According to the US Census, in 2012, 40.3 million Americans were 65 and older, constituting 13% of the population. By 2050, that number will more than double, to 88.5 million, constituting 20% of the population,” the scientists report. For this reason public spending for treatment of various age-related health problems can increase considerably. This can sound obvious. But are we able to forecast exact numbers?

Julie Zissimopoulos and her associates at Southern California University attempted to estimate future price of Alzheimer patients. Alzheimer is indeed very expensive illness. Individuals suffering from this disease are cognitively impaired and are barely able to execute daily tasks. It has not only official, but also unofficial costs.

“The disease poses a burden on family members as well. These primary caregivers – a large crosssection of society – provide unpaid assistance and experience reduced quality of life and, in some cases, mental illness,” the researchers say.

Previous studies have already tried to estimate future expenditures related to growing number of Alzheimer victims. But very different results were received. However, Zissimopoulos and her colleagues put all their efforts to get more reliable forecasts.

“A key advance of this study is the use of nationally repre-sentative data, reliable measures of cognition and diagnoses of AD, high-quality data on both formal and informal costs, and use of a microsimulation model of individuals – rather than synthetic cohorts – to identify variance in outcomes,” they claim.

Their model showed that number of individuals older than 70 years old will rise by 2.5 times until 2050. Consequently, annual costs of Alzheimer will rise from 307 million dollars to 1.5 trillion dollars. 70 dollars are spent for one Alzheimer patient currently. However, this number is going to increase twice. Fortunately, study also revealed that advances in medicine can reduce number of cases and amount of public spending by 40 %.

Article: Zissimopoulos J., Crimmins E., St.Clair. P., 2014, The Value of Delaying Alzheimer’s Disease Onset, Forum for Health Economics and Policy, source link.

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